May Crowning

This weekend we entered into the month of May. This month is traditionally dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. One of the well-known ways of honoring Mary is with a May Crowning, which we will celebrate at our parish at tomorrow morning’s school Mass.

A May Crowning is an old tradition in which a crown (usually a crown of flowers) is placed on the head of a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary to signify her honor as Queen of heaven and earth.

I can remember as a 2nd grade student marching in procession in church for May Crowning. (The 2nd grade students were always chosen for the procession because they were making their First Communion that year.) We were all dressed up in our First Communion suits and dresses and solemnly marched down the aisle of the church. Each of the girls carried a carnation to put in a vase at the Marian altar. One of the girls was the lucky one who was chosen to carry the crown of flowers to put on the statue of Mary. (In reality, it was always one of the church ladies who would actually crown Mary because they didn’t want any kids falling off the ladder you needed to reach the statue.)

Besides the May Crowning there are other ways to honor our mother, Mary, throughout the month of May. One way is by praying the rosary each day. I can remember our family doing this when I was a child.  Other families may set up a Marian shrine or table in their home. Another old tradition is planting a Mary garden. Mary gardens go back to the Middle Ages when certain flowers and herbs began to be symbolically associated with Mary. Some plants even had a secondary religious name. For example,

Amaryllis = Beautiful Lady

Baby’s Breath = Lady’s Veil

Bachelor’s Buttons = Lady’s Crown

Bleeding Heart = Mary’s Heart

Planting a Mary garden, especially around a statue of Mary, can be a wonderful way to incorporate prayer and meditation into your outdoor gardening.

However it is that we honor Mary, let us remember to dedicate this month to her as our Queen of heaven and earth.

Bring flowers of the rarest
Bring blossoms the fairest,
From garden and woodland and hillside and dale;
Our full hearts are swelling,
Our glad voices telling
The praise of the loveliest flower of the vale!

O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today!

Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.

O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today,

Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.

            (from the traditional hymn, “Queen of the May”)

Have a blessed week!

Fr. Magner